“Less than two out of five businesses launched ten years ago are still in business in 2024”

“Less than two out of five businesses launched ten years ago are still in business in 2024”
“Less than two out of five businesses launched ten years ago are still in business in 2024”

Last year, more than 100,000 Belgian companies ceased operations in Belgium, according to the StarterAtlas 2024 report published by UCM, Unizo and Graydon. A worrying observation, for which “UCM is sounding the alarm!”states the company in a press release, targeting a particular sector: Horeca.

Belgian entrepreneurs in difficulty?

”Among the sectors in difficulty are mainly the Horeca and retail sectors, the number of which continues to decrease with a five-year survival rate of 59.7% for the first and 54.7% for the second. One in two retail businesses will not celebrate their fifth anniversary”, examines the Union of Middle Classes, affirming that the construction sector is also affected but to a lesser extent. “The retail and hospitality sectors are fragile. The impact of successive crises (Covid-19, energy crisis, banking crisis, etc.) is still being felt. If the five-year outlook is worrying, the ten-year outlook is most alarming. Less than two in five businesses launched ten years ago are still in business in 2024, less than one in three in the Horeca sector”continues UCM.

Horeca: “It’s because we respect the rules and pay our taxes that we can’t get by”

The StarterAtlas 2024 report, however, notes an increase in the number of companies on Belgian territory at the end of last year. Encouraging fact, but insufficient. “At the end of 2023, Belgium counted 120,478 new companies on its territory, or 4,833 more compared to the previous year (+4.2%). However, if these figures are a priori encouraging, the number of cessations has reached a new level.” On the Walloon side, the number of new businesses has increased, but the number of closures has done the same, reaching an increase of 13% compared to 2022. In Brussels, the number of these has increased by 12.1 %.

This observation is explained by UCM by a “an economic climate currently not conducive to entrepreneurship.” The Belgian organization claims that the system does not make things easier for entrepreneurs in Belgium. “Entrepreneurship is not easyaffirms UCM in its press release. The administrative burden, but also and above all the tax pressure, constitute significant obstacles to the development of economic activity and hiring.” Caroline Cleppert, UCM General Secretary, completes by affirming that a “change of approach and culture is necessary. The development of an entrepreneurial project must be further encouraged and valued, to better consider the challenges of environmental and digital transition in particular!”

The elections will provide an “environment conducive to independents”

UCM encourages in particular to implement a more attractive tax system, to simplify administration, to provide financial support for digitalization or to develop local policies promoting entrepreneurial dynamism. These demands, made already before the elections, hope to find an attentive ear from political authorities.

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